The Second Floor of Bluestone Cottage

stairs1

Alright, so we’ve seen the exterior of the little condemned cottage-house that could, and we’ve taken a walk through the first floor, so if you’re still here and haven’t abandoned ship for some nice blog you might actually get a decent Pin out of…want to go upstairs?

Too bad. You have to. My blog, my rules.

It’s slightly less bad than downstairs.

stairs2

I’ve talked before about how cute I think the staircase is, so here it is from the top! So cute! I love the natural wearing on the pine treads from so many years of use—I think the plan is probably to just sand and seal them, unless the stains are really bad and they need to be stained really dark or painted. Anyway. There’s potential with these stairs!

casementwindiw

There are two really sweet little casement windows in the stairwell (one at the bottom and one at the top) that I’m really hoping I can repair and put back. Fixing the windows is a pretty slow and labor-intensive process, so I think I’ll just have to do one by one over the course of the project.

Here is where I ask for a little help and guidance in the off chance that there are any very savvy hardware specialists reading: all of the casement windows in the house still have the original hardware that allow them to open and close (the casement stays, those funny things at the bottom) BUT almost all of the stays are missing the little knob that keeps the window in place if it’s opened or closed! The hardware can definitely be stripped down and reused, but not without replacement knobs. Anyone know of a way to buy just the knob, without having to buy an entirely new casement stay? Buying new stays is an option, but at about $35 a pop, I really don’t want to do that! Thoughts?

landing2

To help you orient yourself a little, the stairs run in about the middle of the house. At the top, there’s sort of a landing zone which is right over the dining room.  Then there’s a bedroom directly over the kitchen and at the other end, a larger bedroom essentially over the front half of the house. Make sense? Alrighty then.

firstbedroom3

This first bedroom is way cute and a really nice size. I love that five-panel door, too!

firstbedroom2

In the corner, there’s this kind of awkwardly-placed closet that maybe I’m dying to tear out. I know that might be a tough sell, but it just feels…so recently added and out of place here, right? Unless closets are original (or more seamlessly added), I much prefer the alternative of using freestanding furniture to accomplish the same thing in old houses.

firstbedroom1

The other side of the room looks like this. The two little double-hung sash windows let tons of light into the room and are in relatively good shape…a little restoration and they’ll be just fine. I’m weirdly excited to get my hands on all the windows in this house. Restoring old windows is such satisfying work.

I have no idea why all of the walls in this room are covered with 3/8″ OSB, really. I took it all down already and it was concealing some holes (which didn’t seem to be an issue in, uh, the rest of the house?), but mostly the walls are fine? Who knows. Like the rest of the walls in the house, the drywall is in such bad shape and so poorly done to begin with that it’s SO not worth trying to salvage. Down to the studs!

landing

Back at the top of the stairs and outside that bedroom door, there’s a nice little landing kind of space and doors to two rooms: the current full bathroom and the larger bedroom. To the right, there’s this non-original wall that really just needs to come down, but the placement of it actually makes a lot of sense to me. Allow me to explain!

bathroomwall

Here’s a better, blurrier view of the wall. It basically bisects this generous landing space and creates what the listing referred to as a third bedroom.

chimney

Here’s the chimney, which I still think might be fun to expose for a little texture and character.

thirdbedroom2

This “third bedroom” is a disaster. I have no idea what’s going on with the walls, but it doesn’t really matter. The room is really only big enough to wedge a twin bed and a side table into so I don’t really feel like it’s worth maintaining as just another room.

You know what it could be, though?

bedroom3

A totally good bathroom. Right? I mean, if we’re doing all new plumbing and electric and stuff anyway, it’s not like it makes a big difference to put the bathroom somewhere else.

bathroom

So since that will be a bathroom, I can rip this other bathroom out completely. This bathroom is truly horrifying. I’ll spare more photos (FOR NOW), but there’s really nothing in here worth salvaging at all (the tub is fiberglass, don’t be fooled). This picture makes it look like maybe it just needs a little cleaning, which is funny. There’s literally a dead animal in the vanity. Total hoarder-style flattened mummified thing. I can’t even identify it. It might be a ferret.

ANYWAY!

The advantage of ripping out this whole bathroom is two-fold:

1. See how that wall at the end of the shower is built out? Well, there’s another little window behind that! It took me a while to notice since you can only see if from the outside of the house, but it’s there and intact and it’ll be nice to uncover it from this mess.

2. Also, this bathroom really cuts into what would otherwise be a very large, lux bedroom!

master3

Check it! This bedroom could be SO nice and fancy-feeling, right?

bedroomwindows

I love this bank of windows in the front, which faces the front yard and the street and lets in a ton of light. On either side of the windows are these closets, which I think are a nice use of space here.

master1

I suppose this is probably the wall you would put the bed on, which is nice and long and stuff.

master2

This is the backside of the bathroom—remember, the whole thing is going! Instead of one little window in a weird little nook, this wall will have three nice windows letting in even more light and looking really charming and lovely. It’s going to be such a nice room.

So, I know the upstairs maybe doesn’t look like much, but I might be even more excited about it than the main floor! Want to know why? I’ll tell you why.

Much like the main floor, the ceilings up here are only about 7.5 feet high. The difference is…there’s no attic in this house.

Ohhhh yeahhhh. Let’s vault them! Let’s vault all of the ceilings! This upstairs is going to be SO GOOD. Bright and light and architecturally kind of interesting…I’m really excited for it. I’ll be working together with a contractor to figure out the best way to do it without compromising the structure of the roof, but it shouldn’t be too bad. It’s sort of a similar to my plan for the old upstairs kitchen in my house, so maybe I’ll even learn a thing or two doing it here first! I love the idea of doing sort of a paneling (or faux-paneling) treatment on the walls and ceiling and then painting it all out bright white. I see it. I see it in my brain. It’s awesome.

So, about that window hardware…


272 Comments

  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE this little house and can’t wait to see what you do with it. Wish I lived closer. I’d come over and get my hands dirty with you…

    • I think a lot of us feel that way. I kind of wish it was close to where I live so I could just by it!

  2. Okay so I never commented before but I just wanted to say – I am dying to see what you do with the pine floors! Our house (circa 1919) has them in the bedrooms and they were under carpet and in some seriously rough shape so in our so not handy way we covered them in wood laminate (please do NOT flog me!!!). They are ok (the rooms are all less than 11×11 so once there is furniture in them you can barely see the floor anyway, andplusalso, kids = can’t see the damn floor anyway!).
    So, I request detailed descriptions on how you “fix” them!!! Also our stairs are likely pine and I am dying to uncover them soon.

    • Thanks, Andrea! I’m hoping that all the floors need is some refinishing/odor neutralizing, and probably a coat of stain before poly. Old un-stained pine floors that are just refinished and sealed can be BEAUTIFUL, but I’m guessing I’ll need to do a darker stain to disguise old pet stains that I’m not confident will come out with just sanding.

      Anyway, if you ever feel inclined to uncover the floors, get a quote for refinishing! Its surprisingly affordable, and usually less expensive than putting in new floors (hardwood OR laminate!). Wood can be brought back from really dire-looking conditions!

      • You might think about wood bleach, to lighten the tigerstripe look of the grain and get rid of those tough stains. Be sure to use a really good mask & one of those bug sprayers to apply it.

        http://www.remodelista.com/posts/scandi-whitewashed-floors-before-and-after

      • Thanks, Alicia! I LOVE scandi whitewashed floors, but I’m not sure these would be a good candidate because of the animal urine stains, unfortunately. But we’ll see how they sand down…that’s a while off, but it’s definitely something I think about a lot!

      • I’m thinking with or without the whitewash, the wood bleach might be just the thing for all of those smells and animals stains. Something to kind of sanitize the situation ;-) I think that’s one of the things it was originally used for, before the scandi trend began.

      • About the urine stains (what a way to start a comment!). You could try looking in the pet store, as there are lots of products specifically for treating them (using enzymes and such – I had an incontinent cat and therefore know more than I should).
        Anyhoo, good luck with the house(s), I’m really looking forward to this whole process!

      • This is really making me wish I could keep the pine floors in our 1925 home. There are some spots that are beautiful, but the majority is just in terrible condition. Back in the 30s, when they split the house into a duplex, they added height to the attic and a new roof and finished out the second floor, so the floors are laid directly on the ceiling joists. And that just adds a whole heap of trouble.

  3. This is so exciting.

  4. The vaulted ceilings are going to be amazing. As I was looking at the pictures, I kept thinking that it was going to be hard to make it look good with such low ceilings, but I should have known that you had a plan, and such a good one it is! Can’t wait to see it come alive.

  5. This is such a cute little house. I love the upstairs!

  6. Get that F’ing DEAD animal out of there NOW! That’s disgusting. Why is it even still there? OMG, the rest is amazing and two bedrooms with bathroom and vaulted ceilings. Huge improvement–but back to that dead animal–get it the HELL out of there. On the window hardware, I got nothing.

    • I WILL, JEEZ! It’s a mummy…it’s not like a rotting corpse. I just didn’t have the right glove situation to deal with it when I discovered it.

      • I am cracking up at your mom’s reaction. At first I just thought it was a random commenter but when I noticed it’s from Mom, I started laughing uncontrollably. :-) The upstairs has such potential!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • LOL – We love you, Mom! You made me literally laugh out loud in the office. (And for the record, I agree with you! I’d grab a dust pan, random hunk of drywall and stick, anything to remove the beast without touching it.)

      • That mummy is going to total haunt the new house. Don’t disbelieve. You need some crystals and incense and maybe a priest.

      • I’m glad I’m not the only one enjoying ‘the voice of Mom” (I had the same reaction, Debbie!)

      • So, I love your blog and check it regularly because I love your style and the way your voice comes through your writing, but I’m not going to lie – your mom’s comments are often the best part of the blog!

      • Your mom wins the day every time.

      • Californian here. No crystal, burn sage! We can even buy white sage bunches all packaged from Whole Foods!

      • Can your mom guest post?

    • how to deal with flat rats:
      take your glasses off so you can’t really see it.
      put your hand inside a kitchen garbage bag.
      go to where the flat rat is.
      DO NOT LOOK AT IT. AVERT YOUR GAZE.
      pick it up with your garbage-bag covered hand.
      turn the bag inside out over the carcass.
      tie it off and throw it away.
      done.

      • Been there, done that; there’s nothing like groping away with a bag covered hand through squinted eyes at a dead mouse that the neighbourhood cats have left on my lawn (or patio or front step). There’s a park across the street from my house and if you see me madly racing across the street to the nearest garbage can in the park, it’s because I have a deceased rodent (and occasional poor little bird) clutched in my reluctant hand and am making a deposit.

        Love your blog Daniel. And your readers are funny and smart and one of the reasons I read it from start to end.

    • exiled Highland Parker out here in the wilds of New Mexico, de-lurking to add my voice to those who love your mom’s comments. Your mom sounds pretty much identical to my mom (who still lives in HP). Mazel tov on the new house/project, Daniel and family! sending good karma!

    • It’s a mummy, mummy! LOL! (I’d be screaming too.)

  7. Looks fab!! Love all the natural light and bathroom plans. One thing to consider re: closet in the 2nd bedroom – if this place is for resale a lot of people will want a closet/not want to have to buy another piece of furniture. This may be one of the (few??) times to make decisions based on future owners and not historic features of the house. People love them some closets!!

    • I know, I know! No final decisions yet. It’s just something I’m considering!

      • If you found something perfect, you could always buy the piece and say it is sold with the house! Then you get the best of both worlds and also I bet people would be grateful to have the solution in place. They don’t have to know there might have been a closet already in the room and you might have ripped it out :)

      • Except for the part where I’ve documented the whole thing in exhaustive detail online! Hahaha!

        But I do like that solution. I don’t know yet! I’ll take some measurements and keep thinking about options.

      • rip it out
        Im with you on this one
        :)

      • For me as a German where almost no one has a built-in closet (and practically everyone has PAX haha), it is so weird that even in tiny rooms people would want a built-in closet that takes away so much space!! I would always prefer to choose my furniture myself and be flexible how I want to furnish a room. (Same for lamps. Why do Americans sell lamps with houses?! That’s crazy.)
        Love the cottage and cannot wait to see progress.

      • What are the dimensions of the “third” bedroom soon-to-be-bath? If the long side is more than the 8 feet one needs for a small bathroom, you could appropriate the two feet closest to the small bedroom to become its closet (insert doorframe, build wall two feet into room, etc). You’d have to move the bathroom door more to the middle of the hall wall in order to fit all your bathroom fixtures, but that’s easy-peasy. This gets you your pleasing room proportions AND a larger closet than what’s already there.

      • Amy—The room is about 6′ wide by 11′ long! So yes, there is space…however, because the back and the front are additions, the roof structure in the middle section slopes a different way, so the closet could only be like 4.5′ high! I don’t know if that makes ANY sense…I’ll have to post a floor plan soon. The architecture of this place is a little funky.

      • the closet could maybe project into the third bedroom soon to be bathroom I really enjoy your blog one of the few I still read good luck with your reno

      • In Massachusetts it can’t legally be considered a bedroom unless there is a window (has minimum size requirements for emergency egress) and has to have a permanent closet. I know many people with really old houses (rentals) have gotten away with installing a wardrobe and affixing it into place.

        I don’t mind it without a closet but I recommend checking your local codes. It would be horrible to have to sell that as a one bedroom with bonus room because it lacked something like a closet.

    • Seconding Kate – you’ll need a closet in the second bedroom to list it AS a second bedroom! With no closet in that room, you have a one bedroom cottage with a bonus room = not so saleable. So polish off the millwork plans and make a cute closet that looks original.

      • Thirding Kate — at least in CA and NJ ( the only states I’ve had real estate) in order for a bedroom to be “legal” you have to have a closet and a heat source. Since your plan is to flip this baby, you do have to think of the resale value and how it will list. You’ll cut down on the potential pool of buyers who will skip right past a listing that is one bedroom even if you can use the second room as a bedroom. And putting in a freestanding closet that sells with the house doesn’t count (we tried it, NO GO!).

        Looking forward to seeing what you do. This is going to be epic for “before and afters”.

      • OK, got the scoop at the building department: no such restriction exists in kingston! Technically, only new construction bedrooms are even required to have DOORS here, haha. So I can definitely still call it a bedroom, closet or not—it’s more just about the perception of the buyer and whether they would consider a room without a closet a bedroom. Because this area is full of old houses where closets are very rare, I personally don’t really see that being an issue here…not to mention that it’s going to have to be a very particular kind of buyer who wants this house. It’s really a very odd house both for this area and for Kingston, and it’s not going to be for everybody. :)

    • Our house was built around 1900 and none of the bedrooms have closets. We’ve raised four kids in this house and it’s fine and I would never want to carve up our rooms to make closets. Someone did frame out a large closet in the upstairs bathroom, which we share, and we found an old five-panel door in the basement and hired a cabinet maker to build a wardrobe around it for our daughters. I think ripping out the closet will really open up that room.

  8. Sorry dude, I don’t know a thing about window hardware. This cottage is so gross and cool at the same time! The remaining carpet on the second floor looks just like moss, or maybe it is moss!!
    I can’t help myself and ask, how are you feeling, did you find a nice balance between your hyperactivity and want to do so much and your mono? Anyway, take care, and the bluestone cottage is going to go through an epic journey, can’t wait to watch and read!!

    • Thank you for asking, Mariane! I’m feeling OK…definitely still not 100%, but trying really hard to listen to my body and not push it too hard. I’ve been working a lot at the cottage the last couple of weeks and it’s been OK, but I get tuckered out more quickly than normal for me, which is frustrating! I closed on the cottage at the very end of August and found out I had mono a couple days later (doh!), so I really didn’t do ANYTHING to it for about 2 weeks while I was *really* sick, which felt awful but there wasn’t anything I could do! We’ve made a ton of progress on the exterior since then, though, which feels great even if it’s a little slower than I wanted! :)

  9. So does the covered window mean that the bathroom was originally somewhere else? Or there just wasn’t a shower when the house was built? I love the idea of opening that up and moving the bathroom! It’s perfect.

    On the scary house tour front, that bedroom with the kids’ writing on the wall is terrifying. Are you sure it’s not haunted?

    • Yeah, I think the covered window and the placement of the bathroom definitely indicate that it wasn’t here, but I don’t know where it was! I honestly don’t know if this house was originally even a full house—I think it’s more likely that it was expanded from a very small carriage house kind of structure that belonged to one of the adjacent houses! Hopefully getting some things opened up and doing a little more digging into the house history will clear some of this up!

      • Looking at the pictures it kind of seems like the house was extended out the back (and front?).A look at the foundations might provide clues – I notice from your other picture that the foundations on the “middle” part are rubble (before the kitchen – in the scary basement shot). Do the rubble foundations extend all the way to the front?

      • Yep, that’s exactly what I think happened! I think the only truly “original” part of the structure is the middle section, or basically what’s now the dining room, and the space above it. Both the back and front have concrete block foundations.

      • I don’t know the age of the house but you’d be amazed at the floorplans for houses even build in the 30’s which didn’t include a bathroom. It’s entirely possible there never was a bathroom until this one was added in.

      • AHA! That explains it.

      • Daniel, I think there may have been a claw-footed tub originally in this bathroom. Showers, with their dazzling spray that requires water tight enclosures, were not common amenities back in the day. When the bathtub was updated to include showering capability, the window was probably enclosed.

        That all said and done, the cottage is darling! The casements, the staircase, the dining room, the bedrooms! Such a happy, bright vibe. A terrific find– I can’t wait to follow your adventure.

        PS So glad you’re on the mend.

  10. My husband is an Architect so I kind of cringe when you say you are going to work with a contractor to make sure you don’t compromise the structure……

    • Well, I’ll get an engineer in here if/when I need to, but I’d like to get the demo over with and reevaluate from there. It’s possible that the existing collar-ties can just stay in place (or be beefed up and raised somewhat)…I’m not really talking about anything super crazy here! It should be well within the capabilities of a licensed general contractor.

      • My husband is a structural engineer who now works investigating failures and collapses (mostly residential insurance claims). I would like to encourage you to bring in someone when the time comes to make decisions that may affect structural integrity. Contractors have on-the-job know-how but, um…well you know what I’m getting at, right? I’m trying to be diplomatic here. Don’t assume that because a contractor has experience doing something before (even multiple times) or that something passes inspection that it’s a sound choice. That’s all I’m saying.

      • Thank you, Sacha! Now that we’ve started opening up the walls a bit, I think It’s become more clear that I need to get somebody in here a bit more qualified to consult on this stuff. Now I just have to find somebody! :)

  11. Ooh, vaulted ceilings!
    I’m also curious about what you’ll do with the floors, especially in the master bedroom. Do you think the wood floors are still there under the bathroom tile, or will you have to patch that section? (or redo it all?)

    • From what I can tell, I think the floors are still there! I’m sure they’ll need significant repair work, but hopefully a decent amount of it can be salvaged and I can just patch in areas that are missing/rotted, etc.

  12. You need your own show, like something very BBC-ish, not those trainwrecks that are on HGTV these days. You are brilliant and I cannot wait to see how this charming place is going to turn out!

  13. Hi,
    I so understand you being excited about this house! I love old houses that have original features, poky corners, different sized rooms. I would love to tackle something like this. Thanks for showing it!
    I’ve been restoring lots of windows for our green house. It is such satisfying work, although after 40 + windows you might get a little tired of it.
    I can’t wait to read about this house.

  14. I can’t wait to see how those ceiling will look! I’m in love with the idea of this cottage already, it will be beautiful once you’re finished.

  15. So lovely!!! Love the floor and vaulting ideas! I did thought that the original bathroom would be a good small office but it’s so tiny!

    About the window hardware… Is there a store that sells antique parts? I remember seeing one a la Running Away Bride where Julia Roberts’ character works. Hope there is a better answer for you soon!

    • Runaway Bride!! I haven’t thought about that movie in forever! I totally forgot she worked in a salvage shop. So funny.

      Yes, there are a couple of stores like that in Kingston! Since the knob part on this type of window hardware is generally the part that goes missing, though, I’m not super confident that they’d have what I need in the quantity that I need—I think there are 10 casement windows in the house, and almost all of the knobs are missing, so I need somewhere around 20 of them!

      • Go to a salvage place that has old knobs and things – Take one of those casement window stays – try knobs that fit into the specific hardware. This is what I had to do for a missing knob on my old fireplace flue – it had specific measurements for a knob/pin screw type connection and I fished around til I found one. If you can take a measurement, bring a picture, bring the actual piece to the salvage place and get the guys working there to help scrounge around you will most likely find exactly what you need and know what to look/search for from there on….

      • PS=- it may not be The Historically Accurate knob, but it may end up working and looking nice (my fireplace solution actually ended up being a crystal doorknob!)

      • I was also thinking some other type of hardware, like drawer pulls? might work for the casement stays…so always have one in your pocket in case you find something that looks possible!
        (is that a casement stay in your pocket, or are you just happy…etc)
        : )

  16. I love your little house too! Can totally see what you see and why it is going to look so sweet and wonderful after! I agree with one of the comments above about it being a great show, watching the reno. A true reno, would be such a nice change from the cookie cutter reno shows. HGTV listen up! Sorry can’t help with the window hardware issue. Am watching your blog with the anticipation of great things to come.

  17. Pure Salvage Living out of Texas, they have a massive warehouse of supplies, maybe they could help with this.
    .http://puresalvageliving.com/
    All the best, love love love the blog!

  18. Wow! The upstairs will be awesome, and again those stairs! Love the stairs! And love your idea about moving the bathroom. It looks so out of place in the bedroom, like it just wasn’t meant to be there. I’m so excited to watch you bring this house back to life, and all those cute little windows!

  19. Have you tried Rejuvenation?

    http://www.rejuvenation.com

    We got some window hardware from them! Sash cords too. Great place!

  20. Those flanges at the end of the casement stays (you always teach me new words!) look like they would stop the rods from going through the hole. When you open the window, do they slip through or are they so rusted right now that they don’t move? If the flanges act as a stop, you don’t need to worry about the knobs at all.

    You are so right the house being cute. It is enormously cute and it’s going to be incredible little house when you’re done with it. I’m on the wrong continent and I’m tempted by it.

    • I’m not entirely positive I understand what you’re saying (sorry!!), but the rods are meant to slip through that flange to allow the window to open and close! The little knob that screws through the hole in the top is what keeps the rod from moving, so that’s what keeps the window in position either when it’s opened or closed. Does that make sense? Some of them don’t really move as they should now, but I think they just need to have the paint stripped and maybe a little oil in spots to get them restored.

      • I’m sorry I was unclear. Let me see if I can explain it better, I’m not sure I know the right words, and it would be easier if I could just point at what I meant on the photo, but here goes.

        What I see is that the rod is attached to the window, then it goes though a hole in a post with the knob on top and sticks out a bit on the other side. The flanges I meant are on that bit that sticks out, on the opposite end from the window. They look like someone tried to take a bite out of the end of the rod in two places, but didn’t bite quite through. (Are they flanges? It’s entirely possible I’m calling them by the wrong name. I do apologise. :) ) They also look like they make the rod end larger than the hole in the post that they go through, thus stopping the rods from slipping through completely as you open the window.

        To test the theory that they actually do stop the rod from going through the post completely, you just need to open one window and see.

      • From further comments I see that I’ve completely misunderstood what you asked for. Please feel free to ignore my comments.

  21. Not to be a but-in-ski, but have you considered moving the closets in the master to flank the doorway rather than the window? Small house means small privacy. If you’re intending this for a family, they might appreciate a sound insulator between their bed area and the bathroom, not to mention that it might make the windows in the front more of a feature. Anyway, food for thought. It’s a sweet little place – I know you’ll make it great no matter what!

    • I have! I’m still playing around with how to add more storage to the house, so that might be an option. It might depend on whether anything about the current set-up is providing load-bearing support. The walls forming the interior side of the closets seems to be doing something structural, but I’m not really sure what yet! It will help to get the drywall out and see what’s going on.

      • I liked the idea that another commenter presented. She said they had a big closet off the bathroom.
        I wonder if you stole 3- 4 feet from the bathroom you could make a whole house walk in closet? Hanging space for both bedrooms worth of clothes and some simple shelves for linens. Instead of sacrificing space in each room. You could have the door open on to the hallway so it can be accessed by all even if someone is using the loo. It would mean a smaller bathroom but 8×6 is a fairly good sized bath. If you had the room you could a i direct door from the master to the bathroom and a bathroom door to the hallway. That way you can market it as a semi private master suite. I would probably pay a bit more for that feature.

        Were you considering a powder room on the first floor? Maybe in the space beneath the stairs? I always feel that having a powder room on the main living floor opens up a lot of options for making a bathroom work for a funky space in the bedroom area.

        BTW, I wanted to thank you. Lots and lots of people make suggestions here and I always feel like you read and carefully consider each one. I truly think that is a part of the reason you have such a great fan base. We feel heard and respected and involved and that makes all of these projects hugely exciting to watch! Thank you!!!

      • Thanks, Kelly! I like everything you’re saying here, but I think the house might be even smaller than you think! The future bathroom is still going to be something of a tight squeeze…there really isn’t room to steal square footage for a big closet or something. I think laundry is going upstairs now (originally I thought first floor, but I actually think upstairs works better AND is more functional…)

        And yes! I think there will be a 1/2 bath on the first floor, but underneath the stairs is too little! The stairway is only about 30″ wide, haha. So that space will probably be given over more to a normal closet/pantry situation, and the powder room will kind of be carved into the living space, I think.

  22. Are the casement stays brass/bronze or steel? I would take the whole assembly off and take a trip down to the hardware store and try all the bolts to see exactly what your thread size is and what depth you need. Then you can look online at threaded knobs or specifically “knurled thumb screws” to try and get a match to the depth and thread size. I would get one that is a wider diameter rather than cheap wingnut ones. Matching/antiquing the finish of the old one is another story once you find a correct fit.

    similar shape to this:
    http://www.antiquelampsupply.com/product/2280

  23. Not gonna lie. My thoughts during the first scroll through these photos was, “WTF… this is TERRIFYING! Daniel has LOST HIS MIND!!” (I think it was the grapevine/black mold combo that got me). But once I was able to see past the chaos, it really is a lovely old house and I love the fact that it’s in the hands of someone who will love it back to life… instead of just tearing it down and creating a vacant space where garbage collects.

    Can’t wait to watch the transformation!

  24. “… if you’re still here and haven’t abandoned ship for some nice blog you might actually get a decent Pin out of …” — Pretty Pins are nice, but this is so much better — an exciting adventure!

    • Agreed! This is a perfect example of ugly being beautiful!

  25. Hi Daniel,
    A salvage yard is your answer. When I lived in Pennsylvania, there was always one to be found, and making the owner aware of your project will help. They will provide local info relevant to your searches. Lovin’ the blog!

  26. Hiya,

    Love the blog and have been reading for about a year.
    Im from the UK so we don’t have these but I would maybe make your own knobs. It shouldn’t be that difficult.
    Threaded bars come in measurements M3, M4, M5, M6 etc. You can buy the threaded bars, cut them to size (or you can buy Grubs, which are pre-cut to size) and then if you type into eBay M4 knob, you should be able to find something which fits on the top. Bit of glue on the end before you screw the knob on the threaded bar so it doesnt come off and then you have got something which might resemble what your looking for at a low price.

  27. That staircase… *swoon*! (I guess the top post has been used as a scratching post for a cat or dog for extensive period of time… get that putty out!)

    A

  28. I’m so glad that you’re taking on this project. This house needs so much LOVE! But I can see it! I see your vision and its going to be perfect.

  29. Re removing closet in smaller BR: in some jurisdictions you are not allowed to call a space a bedroom if it does not have a closet. Not good for resale if you can legally only call this a one bedroom house. I know real estate agents stretch the truth all the time. Just wanted to give u heads up.
    Btw I so admire your optimism. I know it will look fab when you’re done. You are so talented

    • Ya know, I didn’t even think about that! I’m pretty sure in NYC a room just has to have a window, but I don’t know what it is up here! Because this is an area where the vast majority of the houses are 100+ years old (and don’t have many closets!), I sort of doubt that’s the case, but maybe it’s just common practice to ignore that when selling a house? For instance, I think our house was called a 3 bedroom but only one of those rooms has a closet. Hmmm.

      • In Seattle at least, a bedroom legally must have a closet and a window no higher than 44″ off the ground (so most basement bedrooms are out). My house has one that was put in around 1929, I think? They did nice shaker style french doors with a cupboard latch, so it reads as more of a built in furniture piece than a tacked on closet. Perhaps that would be a good compromise?

  30. I’ve not commented before but I am simultaneously awed and horrified by what you’ve taken on.

    I do think, though, that it would be worth considering installing some sort of storage in the little bedroom. The closet is horrible and definitely needs to go but storage is a great selling feature. It’s really hard to visualise the house without a floor plan but do the new bathroom & second bedroom share a wall? What about a closet on that wall? Half linen/stuff cupboard on the bathroom side, half closet on the bedroom side. Sorry, that probably doesn’t work but as someone who loves built-in storage I hope you do something!

    • I love this idea! Although if the kitchen/back bedroom are an addition (I think you said that in an earlier post), then I guess that wall could be structural, which could make that more difficult…

      All I can think when I see that weird blue wall treatment is that they started to tile the room and just got carried away with putting the thinset on the walls and never stuck the tiles on before it all dried….I’m sure that’s not actually it – probably somebody’s idea of a fancy wall treatment that covers all imperfections (except…it doesn’t)…but isn’t that kinda what it looks like?

  31. You’ve got me hooked. Excited to see how this fixer-upper fixes up!
    I am left with one burning question…Who is A.B. of the pepto-pink room??
    In your demo, keep an eye out for love notes hidden in the walls!

  32. Re: closets, built-in or not – I found this on the web (it’s from Conn., but generally applicable, I think):

    Generally speaking, a bedroom has a closet. However, it is also very common for older homes to have bedrooms with out closets. Up until the early part of the 20th century, it was very common for bedrooms to not have built-in closets. Furniture functioned as a closet. Generally speaking, the number of bedrooms does not affect the value of a house. That is, simply listing a higher number of bedrooms does not increase the value of a house. However, there may be some loss in value due to a functional obsolescence if the market recognizes a dysfunctional relationship between a greater number of bedrooms versus a lesser number of bathrooms (e.g., if a house has four or more bedrooms and only one bathroom, there may be a loss in value).
    ———————————————————
    There is no one universal definition of what a bedroom is. Each Town Department and/or Agency may have a different definition. Please check with the appropriate Town Department and/or Agency for their particular definition of what a bedroom is.

    • Yes, I’m guessing the Kingston building department will be the people to ask—I’ll be there later today, so hopefully I can find out then!

      And yes—almost all of the houses in Kingston are old (there are some postwar developments but VERY little new construction or anything built after about the mid-60s), so buyers looking in this area are probably very used to seeing bedrooms without closets, and I don’t think anyone has a problem listing rooms as bedrooms if that’s their function—closet or no. Anyway, I’ll find out!

      • Figured it out! Bedrooms do not require closets in Kingston. (and in old houses, they don’t even require DOORS! haha)

  33. LOVE the potential up here! Can’t wait to see what you do with the space. I’m not sure which size of casement knob you need but this company might be able to help you out?! http://www.kilianhardware.com/reknforcaad.html

  34. Even before the comment about whether a room without a built-in closet could be ‘defined as a bedroom’ I was going to suggest this (for the smaller back bedroom):

    What about finding & putting an appropriate armoire (or large dresser, like the one in your own house) in the room, and offering that to be included in the sale. Then, you’re supplying the storage function, and the owner has flexibility about how/where they will use it…just a thought….

    Good luck! I echo the other readers’ combination of horror, glee, and applause for your dedication! I think it will be so amazing to end up with neighbors who will have such an appreciation for what you’re doing here!

  35. RE: Window Casing Stay Knobs
    Have you tried rockler.com

  36. So happy to think you are resurrecting this modest and charming, well-crafted small house. Thank you, it seems as if it is a much larger act of karma.

  37. perhaps with the little bedroom you can incorporate a small closet in the space you will be converting into a bathroom? that way the closet is no longer sticking out into the room like an afterthought, but you still get that storage space? just a thought – not sure how much room you have in the “3rd bedroom” or if that wall is load bearing. i love what you are doing here, giving this place the love it needs to turn it into something fabulous and save it from the wrecking ball!

  38. Love Love this little house. Your plans sounds great for it. I wish I had the time to do these kind of rehabs. It is so much fun (although frustrating at times too) to see the end results and know that you did it.

    I want to caution you on one thing though. I prefer the freestanding European style wardrobes (may have something to do with where I come from), but many localities won’t count a bedroom as one unless it has closets. A furniture style wardrobe doesn’t qualify. A permanent attached one like an IKEA PAX does in some areas. Might want to check what is the needed in your area. I’d hate to see you have it turned into a 1 bedroom house instead of 2. Although it looks like the alcove next to the brick in the 3rd bedroom could be made a closet accessed from the bedroom if you had to.

  39. Replacement knob for casement adjuster. Here is one:
    http://www.kilianhardware.com/reknforcaad.html
    But maybe this would work, too (worth a shot at that price!):
    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Unbranded-1-4-in-20-x-2-in-Brass-Knurled-Screw-2-Pack-99338/203537799

    You could also contact a manufacturer of this hardware. They might be able to help you out (or go to a hardware store that sells high-end wood casement windows).

  40. I love the idea of an exposed chimney in the bathroom. Seems so decadent for some reason.

  41. I was really looking forward to this post. I am so happy that you rescued this house from demolition. It has tons of character, and everything you’ve proposed so far seems to make sense.
    I would not worry about ripping out that funky closet in the kids’ bedroom (unless it is structurally essential). Lots of folks are looking for smaller houses these days. My house was described as a three bedroom, but the 2nd “bedroom” on the 1st floor makes no sense due to the placement of exterior doors & the traffic flow. The house operates with the master bedroom (2nd floor loft) & downstairs guest bedroom. The third bedroom will be a huge mudroom/link to outdoor deck once I pull down the shitty added porch & streamline it with a deck & new fencing (the chainlink gotta go). Also, if the bulk of houses in Kingston are larger, this one might stand out & be gobbled up by a single person or someone with no kids.
    Honestly, you might even make a direct sale to someone who follows this blog! If my son eventually wants to move out of but remain close-ish to NYC; Kingston might be a place to consider.
    Just sayin’.

  42. About your knobs….you could always talk to a local machine shop to see if they can make them for you. I work at one in WV and we always get a few people coming in wanting things like that made. Best of luck!!

  43. I can see why you’re more excited for the second floor than the first. This place is going to be so beautiful and charming when you’re all done with it.

    I’m loving how many windows will be in that master bedroom – such a great idea.

    But the dead ferret. So random! lol

  44. so exciting!! what a great little house!! and i bust out laughing at the dead animal in the bathroom… the first house we lived in and renovated almost entirely had several mummified animals in it… a rat and a snake. my husband used to set the rat out on the windowsill when i would show up to help paint or sand floors!! oh, the horror!!

  45. open a Kickstarter for this – I would love to contribute and I am sure others would like to help, too

    • For real? I’d happily contribute if the house was going to be given to a charity to provide a home to those in need, but I couldn’t imagine someone donating to a Kickstarter for a persons (for-profit) house flip?

      • Just to nip this in the bud…Annette actually emailed me separately and had the same idea—basically sell the house below market to a person/family in need, using donation money to fund the project so that costs would be covered. Either way, crowd-funding stuff gets suggested to me a lot (well before this house, actually—in my own house and my apartment), and it’s just not something I’d ever feel comfortable with. If people have money to donate, I can happily suggest about a million causes more important and in need than this one. I also think that while donating the house or selling it really below market or something *sounds* like a really nice idea, I think that’s a much more complex thing than I’m equipped to handle. There are organizations and both local and federal programs that are designed specifically for housing assistance, and I’m not one of them. That isn’t to say that I’m trying or anticipating making some kind of killing off of this house, or that it won’t sell to somebody in need, but yeah…I do need to at least cover my out-of-pocket costs, and hopefully make some kind of profit at the end of the day for this to be successful.

  46. I’m totally seeing the 2nd floor vaulted and white and Scandi. The boarded up kid’s room makes me wonder about “AB”?? Maybe ‘ol Ab was picking at the plaster or some such. That someone’s solution to that was particleboard walls…well…I suppose that with family ferret missing and all, they were a tad distracted by greif.

  47. LOVE IT!!! I want to move to Kingston and live there. So so cute.

  48. When you first posted the outside view of this cottage my first reaction was, “OH IT IS DARLING!” And it is! I’m so excited that you *get* this little house and that you’re going to bring it back to life because it’s so so sad and does not deserve to be a condemned little crack den.

  49. First time to comment for me although I’ve been reading and enjoying your blog for years. I guess the architect in me couldn’t resist- and now I see the comments I’m planning to make have already been made- oh well! Consider this a second vote for- finding a bolt with the matching thread for your casement stays. Exactly what I was going to suggest. Then you can look elsewhere for a decorative bolt knowing the thread you need. And I wonder if you can add a closet for the pink room next to the chimney (along the back wall of where the new bathroom will be)? That way that room still gets a closet but it doesn’t intrude into the space. Not sure if that could work structurally but might be worth looking into.

  50. I´m very curious about the history of this house, don´t you?, who lived there? for how long has been inhabited?
    I can’t wait to see you getting into it!

  51. Funny how through all that mess we can envision your thoughts. I can’t wait to see this baby come back to life. Cheers

  52. Dear Daniel (1st time commenter, trying to be polite), what about a little space somewhere to put a washing machine? Thanks for your blog.

    • I’m still playing around with quite how to fit everything in, but the house will definitely have laundry! I think it may be on the first floor due to the space constraints on the second (the ceiling angles make things challenging for stacked units, which would theoretically save some space), but I’m honestly not sure yet! Actually starting to build out the space is still a few weeks off, so I’m just trying to consider what will work best!

      • It was hard to tell from the pictures: is there any back garden behind the house where one could air dry clothes? Then it might be better to have the washing machine on the first floor rather than the second.

      • There is a very small yard in the back…I’m not sure it’s really enough space to air dry much. I have to say, though, air-drying is really pretty uncommon here, unless it’s out of necessity! The climate just doesn’t really cooperate…either it’s too cold or too rainy/snowy or too humid. We air-dried a lot before we had a dryer and it was pretty ineffective and generally just sort of terrible! It’s a shame, because nothing compares to air-dried linens!

  53. Yay you for finding and restoring this little cottage. I hope the only surprises along the way are happy ones.

    I am surprised that I quite like the exterior paint job, but after that dose of color outside, the inside cries out for lots of white on the walls, to bounce the light around.

    And whatever you can do to enhance storage, you should do. Modern people have a lot more stuff than people did 100 years ago, and therefore need places to stash their stuff. Just think about where to store luggage for 2 people, off-season clothing, seasonal decorations, linens and blankets, toys, hobby gear, coats and boots,extra food, tools, picnic supplies and a cooler…Where will it all go?

    Also, plan for lots of electrical outlets. When we remodeled our bathroom 2 years ago, we put in 5 quad outlets (that’s 4 receptacles in each outlet)…and we use them all: toothbrushes, night lights, a recharging station, hair dryers, and on and on. Outlets are really cheap to install when the walls are down to the studs. Better to err on the side of “more than you think”. Where will phones and computers and cameras and stuff get recharged? Maybe a spot in the kitchen, hopefully behind a cabinet door for that function.

    • Oh, I totally hear you on the storage front! It’s tough in this house since the footprint is so small, so I’m trying to think of creative ways to incorporate storage space without sacrificing too much living space, and still maintaining some historical integrity. It’s a tall order! But if I learned anything from living in small apartments in NYC, it’s how important storage is! :)

      And yes, part of the advantage of going down to the studs is that I can add in lots of new outlets! We did a lot of electrical work in our house already and it still feels really under-electrified, but adding more outlets is a HUGE pain and a HUGE mess and a huge expense in a house with intact plaster walls and all that. So I’ll live out my electrical fantasies here, haha.

  54. Fantastic! I’m so excited to watch you breathe life back into this charmer. So much potential.

    I’m wondering about the heating – I see baseboards in the bathroom but only the back shell of the covers in the bedrooms. Were they ripped out in favor of another heat source? Just curious if that’s something else you have to think about when doing the layout.

    • Thanks, Kate! I talked about this a bit in the last couple of posts, but a lot of the copper (plumbing and heating) was torn out of this house, likely for scrap while it was vacant—a pretty common problem for vacant/condemned houses. I’m planning to put in a whole new forced air heat (and maybe A/C, while we’re at it) system. Plumbing and HVAC will take up the bulk of the budget on this project, but hopefully with everything brand new, the next owners or tenants won’t have any major problems down the road.

  55. It looks like you’ve been watching way too much Nicole Curtis! LOL But seriously, I can’t wait to see progress on this house. The before/after photos will be amazing!

  56. I’m gonna second Cathy on this–these are going to be the most epic before/after pictures ever! But I’m more excited for the process, actually!

  57. You are fabulously talented and fun-every single word you write and vision you share! This crusty little doll house is amazing and so lucky to be found by you. I am addicted. I am obsessed. And am so glad i get to see every ugly and beautiful part of this project without having to smell it or have a mummified critter surprise me. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  58. Daniel, an idea about the closet. I agree that the current closet is in an awkward place. But I also think that closets are such important parts of a house. If you do convert the third bedroom into a bathroom, what about borrowing some of that space for a closet? I’m also not clear whether there is a closet in the master bedroom. Perhaps borrowing space from the third room/bathroom conversion is more essential for that space. Best wishes on your efforts here. It looks like it will be a charming house.

    • Yes, there are two closets in the master bedroom! They flank either side of the bank of three windows.

      I’ll try to figure out if borrowing space from the future-bathroom is an option, but I have a feeling that structurally it may not work because of the strange angles of the roof in the various sections of the house.

      • Since the roof may be too low for this space to function as a traditional closet, maybe a different approach would be to utilize part of the third bedroom/bathroom space as a storage area. Even a low ceiling space to put boxes would be nice. I live in a tiny house and have very little stuff but in small houses, storage becomes even more essential. It’s nice to know you have other closet space in the main bedroom and other options for storage space, like in the front entry room and even in the horror that is the b-b-basement. Good luck!

  59. HI Daniel…yikes…wonder who AB was in the smaller bedroom? Does the house have duct work? My little house doesn’t but I have a heat pump that works as heat and a/c …might work in a small place like that..only downer is you have to mount the units on the inside walls somewhere…
    of course since you are doing a gut job maybe you’ll just add ducts….
    that bathroom is a horror….(but not as bad as the downstairs bathroom in the big house was)

    • Yes—the plan is to add new ducts for forced air—there’s nothing existing now. After I finalize the layout, I’ll work together with my plumber/HVAC guy to figure out the best way to run the duct work, since ducts need thicker walls than standard 2×4 framing. Then I can start building out the space based on that!

  60. Since you are moving the bathroom to the odd little space is there any room to make the little bedroom a closet there? Or would it make the bathroom too small? Another thing to consider… if you rip the closet out and it was original you will have a floor situation to fix and it might be hard to find something that blends well.
    Good luck! I’m excited to watch the progress!

  61. I think moving the bathroom and removing the closet is a great use of space. Have you considered a built in closet with bed niche idea for closet space in the second bedroom?
    (Like the bedroom here)
    http://www.jhinteriordesign.com/library-house/

    (or this more clean lined version)
    http://www.designsponge.com/2014/09/creating-a-serene-home-in-brooklyn.html

    I would leave space for a queen bed and if the future buyer wants to use it for a bed niche or desk niche there should be plenty of space. Good Luck!

  62. Those stairs. I. Die.

  63. Has HGTV called yet?? You need a renovation reality show!

  64. I really love the stairs (and the whole staircase setup).

    You might be able to find the balls for the casement hardware in one of the junk bins, but it’s gonna be sort of based totally on luck. I’d probably start there, but worst case, buy full salvage ones, pull the balls off, then sell the rest on eBay for whatever you get. That way you get to keep your house’s original hardware and make it complete again, but you only pay the market value for the ball.

    If you do end up exposing the chimney, you might need to repoint the mortar like we did in our house. The plaster really kills the hard mortar surface and all you’ll ever do is clean up the sandy dust that will always fall from it. If you repoint you’ll get a good hard surface and less dust. Check out our posts from last year, it’s really not a hard process, and looks nice when you’re done.

    • Thanks, Alex! I do think the chimney (at least on the second floor) will need to be repointed, so I’m glad you did all the hard stuff for me!! I’ll definitely look up the posts—thank you!!

  65. As soon as you mentioned that the ceilings are 7’5″ downstairs I KNEW you’d want to vault the ceilings upstairs. I live in a beautiful little Cape with 7’5″ ceilings – it makes the proportions of the rooms feel right. But upstairs, in the half-storey, the two bedrooms and bath have been opened to the roof height and it’s pretty swell.
    Anyhoo…long time reader/lurker. Carry on!

  66. I am a new reader and am excited to have found your blog! I am going to enjoy checking in to see the progress on your adorable cottage that needs a lot of love.

  67. Ok, I admit I am far too lazy to read the previous 118 comments, but I am wondering about the heat register in the doorway of the yellow bedroom. Is that weird or is it just me. And OMG all the colors. It’s like a little acid trip with walls.

    • It is kind of weird! There’s another one in the pink bedroom, too. I guess these were often used as a simple way to allow heat to travel up to the second floor, I guess from when there would have been more of a stove situation than a full radiant heat system. It shouldn’t be a big deal to just remove them and feather in new floor boards to cover the hole.

      • It just seems like such a strange location for it, right there in the middle of the walkway! Couldn’t have put over a foot or two? Weird.

  68. I am a grown ass woman and I literally squealed with joy when I saw that there was a new Bluestone post in my feed reader!

  69. How totally trashed, but so much potential, so much fun –from a spectator POV. Can’t wait to see how it all evolves. Love your ability to see past what is actually in place; so if you move the bathroom, does that mean there would be room for elegant double door entry into spacious master bedroom? might add to that lux feel of lots of room, lots of light…
    luv your blog xxoo

    • I don’t think a double door would be possible, but maybe! I’m still playing with layout. I actually think the existing door might move to the left (like more where the bathroom door is) to expand the width of the new bathroom. I’m trying to squeeze in a full bath and laundry in a non-awkward way, and the size of the landing zone upstairs is sort of a waste of space with such a small footprint. But we’ll see! :)

      • With the awkward height of roof angles, might it be possible to make a built in cabinet in the bathroom with side by side laundry hidden within?

  70. You are a brave, brave man.

    PS – I design for Cuddl Duds and I am alittle giddy that our ads are running on your blog. It’s like having your two favorite friends meet.

  71. I love your vision. I lived in DC for a while some years ago and I loved the architecture. I live in a beautiful Edwardian house here in Liverpool, UK right near the beach. Show a picture of the flattened mammal I may be able to id it. I am a forensic anthropologist. Chuck ;)

    • I might have to send that one over email, haha! Not sure the greater populace would appreciate it. I sort of want to put it in a shadowbox, personally.

      • you should put it in a shadowbox that would be brilliant. :) I have 300 animal skeletons in my house, some are articulated and displayed but most are in clear boxes. Make a little label in Latin for it and display your resident with pride.

  72. This is so cool! I wish you could show us the vision in your head! lol What part of renos do you love the most – the planning/searching, the figuring out problems and how to make things work better, or the actual get your hands dirty part?

    • Oh man…I like it all! For different reasons!! The planning is fun and frustrating and full of anticipation and possibilities, but I really like to dive in. I love the inevitable problem-solving and technical work (and education!) of actually DOING STUFF and the satisfaction of seeing it done. I don’t know!

  73. I’m so excited about this project. The little bedroom – what about pulling out the closet and on the other side of the room, putting a closet along the wall next to the window and then a charming little window seat under the window. Though the wall does not seem to be full height there, you could still hang most things in such a closet. And window seats – I’m such a sucker for a charming window seat nook.

    If you could take 18 inches or so from the blue-bathroom-to-be, you could also add built in drawers.

    • Definitely an option! The funny slope of the roof might make it sort of a functionality challenge, but that placement would certainly be better.

  74. When you vault the ceilings do you need to add extra insulation under the roof?

    • Yes, definitely! This house, amazingly, doesn’t have ANY insulation whatsoever from what I can tell. The entire thing will get insulated—all exterior walls and ceilings. Hopefully that’ll help with the heat bills! I can’t imagine how cold this place must have been!!

  75. I love the vaulted ceiling idea – fabulous idea for this space.
    Also I love your mum.
    Also, what is it with you buying houses where there has been a death in the bathroom???? :)

  76. I’ve been following your blog since the desk you built was featured on Apartment Therapy. I’ve never commented for all these years but I’ve never missed a post. I even went back after the desk post and reread everything you’d written before that, way back when. Anyways I just want you to know I look forward to your posts more than any other blog (I’ve actually become bored with all the others in my feed). I’m so excited for what you will do with this little bungalow and to follow along the way! I hope to one day restore a space of my own. You are such an inspiration! Can’t wait for the posts to come!

    • Aw, shucks, Megan! That’s such a kind comment—thank you! *hearts*

    • Same here! I have been a reader for years and I love your posts! Keep them coming (and greetings from Portugal)

  77. OMG I am LOOOOOVING this house! I want to live here… So darling. The stairway is the cutest ever. The paint job in this house is crazy. I would love to know all the stories this little house has to tell. I’m in love. Have you watched the BBC show Restiration Home?? The only place I can find full episodes is You Tube. Best show to watch while you fold laundry or pay bills. I love to see all the old houses fixed up! Season 1 Episode 1, the church, is amazing!

    Happy renovating!!,

    • I’ve never seen it!! A few people have recommended it, though—gotta get on that!! It sounds fun!

  78. Like Megan, above, I’ve silently followed you forever…like someone peeping in your windows at night! Anyway, I adore your blog and am unnaturally excited about this little cottage – your enthusiasm and optimism are contagious and I just can’t wait to see the transformation. You may be a flipper, but you have the heart and soul and great taste of someone much more than that and it will show. Thanks for sharing with all of your virtual fans/friends.

  79. Congrats on the WaPo mention today!

    Cheers,
    A long time lurker

  80. Looks like you have tin ceiling in the upstairs bathroom too?

    • Yes! It’s the only semi-nice part of the whole thing!! I’m hoping I can take it down in salvageable pieces and either reuse it somewhere or hoard it for some future project. That’s one thing that will NOT be going to a landfill. :)

      • That’s nice :) this little cottage is so sad now, so glad you decided to rescue it. Looking forward to its journey towards being a great home again.

  81. If you want some inspiration for vaulted ceilings, check out http://www.housetweaking.com/ – specifically:
    http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/07/02/the-living-room/ and
    http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/07/10/the-kitchen/
    They did lots of DIY too!

    • I came in here to mention House*Tweaking as an example, too. In fact, it’s because of her that I’m here, thanks to one of her “made me smile” posts.

      I’m a new reader to this blog but already addicted. You have a really fun writing style and I’m excited to see what you do with this house!

      • Thank you, guys! Dana + family did a great job with those—I’m ashamed to say I never knew they lived in a midcentury ranch! Those ceilings change everything!! So big! So bright!

  82. Have you thought about turning the tiny room into an ensuite? If not stick a crib in there and call it a small bedroom?

  83. I’ve never dealt with a mummified corpse in a house before, but when I was house-hunting during the peak of the housing crisis, I was looking at this totally trashed condo. I Seriously: they ripped the sink out from the half bath and the shower from the full bath and swapped locations. So the half bath became a shower stall with a toilet in it and the full had two places to wash your hands but none to wash the rest of you. Anyways, as I’m laughing about the great plumbing switcheroo, I open the master bedroom, and see glowing eyes. Then it starts to hiss and move towards me. I’d call myself a silly girl for the way I squealed and ran down the stairs, but my fatherly real estate agent beat me to the first floor and out the front door.

  84. You’re kidding, right, about leaving you for a Pin? Dude, I’m a very recent reader and every time I see one of your posts pop up in my Feedly I click over as fast as I POSSIBLY can! And I live in California, in a mid-century ranch, that I will never renovate. And, and, I can’t do even a smidgen of DIY. Your blog is a great adventure saga, a great, aesthetic, personal saga. Thank you for everythign.

  85. Daniel, this cottage looks like a fantastic project, I am so excited to check in on the plans and progress. Speaking of plans could you do a floor plan please?

    • Yes, I’ll post them when I get into more of the interior planning stages. I’ve been working hard on figuring out exactly how I think the layout should/shouldn’t be, so soon! There are a lot of challenges between the small space and the funny angles upstairs, but I think I’m getting close! :)

  86. I am happy to hear that I am not the only one who literally squeals in excitement when you have a new post. My friends at work think I’m nuts when I try to explain the updates (usually b/c I’m laughing so hard I can barely speak). You are the best. Your mom is a riot. Bless you, the man, the pups and your new dead furry friend. PLEASE try and pace yourself until you’re feeling 100%. Let me know when you’re sanding the floors or clearing the crackden jungle. I’d love to help!

  87. I see the cuteness, Daniel! The second floor is going to be so adorable!

  88. Just a word about pine/fir floors like these: They can look great when refinished. We get a lot of compliments on ours. They are tricky though. You can’t go too dark because it doesn’t work and you can’t go too…I don’t know, oily or something, because then you get crazy yellow/red/purple streaks that are not attractive. Be sure to use a sealer, it’s very important so the wood takes any stain evenly. Test the stain. Be sure you know how to apply it evenly and correctly. We used a medium brown and four coats of satin poly on the stairs and it turned out beautifully. We made a mistake everywhere else and switched to semi-gloss for the third coat — disaster, everything turned red/orange/purple. Our floor refinishers then way over-sanded to get the poly out but it never really worked and it looks redder than the stairs. Though it still looks good, just not my choice of color.

  89. Last night night I dreamt that I was you – might I mention that I am a short blonde neurotic 36yr old, of the female variety – and I was hiding in a little dump of an old house in the closet (har har) from my wild eyed father who was trying to kill me with his speed boat. My / our father was Jim Carey by the way, with a really crazy look on his face. And then I woke up and there was a new post up (different time zone, South Africa), so, yay. I love and adore your blog, one of the absolute best ones out there!

  90. hope you run across missing hardware strewn about the cottage?!
    if not what about some place like this > http://www.noreast1.com/index.html

  91. RE: Holes in the walls
    So ~AB~ had some anger issues?

  92. The colours I’m seeing in the doors here confirm my thoughts after seeing your pictures of the downstairs. At some point this house was so bright and colourful, and must have been a really cute, cosy, cheerful little home. I’m so glad you’re bringing it back.

  93. Is there any way to get some closet space out of that bonus room (in addition to the bathroom?). Love the bathroom switch plan. Love the vaulted ceiling plan. Especially love that you are going to restore those windows. They are really perfect. I’m going to want to buy this house when you’re done. It’s the perfect size for a single girl and her dog. Is there a back yard?

  94. This is how gutsy I WISH I could be. I’ve just managed to convince my husband that a good late 80s/90s house in need of opening up and updating is a good starter home. But oh, how I’d love to get my hands on a total gut like this. It’s going to be amazing!!! Can’t wait to see what you do with it.

  95. I refresh your blog every day because I’m addicted and LOVE it. I am seriously obsessed with everything you do. I’m looking for real estate in Westchester now with my husband and I keep saying things like “No, no, we don’t have to purchase all new windows! I’m going to restore them!” I would not have that sort of answer if it weren’t for your blog. You make me feel like old is worth saving and making gorgeous and pretty and newish again! I am SO PUMPED to see what you do with the cottage. Vaulting the ceilings? Genius. Just so smart.

    • That’s so nice to hear, Lauren!! Good luck with the house hunt—I wish I could come with! :)

  96. I’ve been following for a long time with such envy and admiration! I live in Chicago where a cottage like that would be bulldozed without a second thought. To be honest, buildings in better shape that were built in the 90s get knocked down too — there is no love for historic preservation here! Which sucks for a city that supposedly loves architecture, anyhow, I digress. Gotta ask though — what are those pills on the sink vanity?! I’m so curious!! (PS: I’m also a dog mom to an older poodle so my love for Linus runs deep!)

  97. First, I’m in love with your blog. I live life vicariously though it while I “shop” for upstate house from my studio apt in Brooklyn… shighhh.

    I have never commented before, but wanted to put my two cents in about the closet. I grew up in a 100+ year old house with those funny eaves closets and alway hated them, except when used as a hiding spot for hide and seek. My parents recently sold the house (sob), and were invited by the new owners to see all the changes they have made. I hated most of them (tearing down perfectly good original walls to make is omg open concept, replacing the original ball room floors for super wide dark stained new wood, the list goes on) but they did a really cool thing with those closets . The squared it off, and turned the little extra space in the eaves into attached built storage with drawers. It looked so good, and was much more functional.

    Yours looks like it my be to narrow with the window right there, but maybe a little cabinet or something? Storage is a big thing to have in a small home so it would be a shame to get rid of it. Also, at least where I grew up, you are not aloud to list a room without a closet as a legal bedroom!

  98. Just wanted to say congrats on being mentioned in the country’s best newspaper (IMHO), The Washington Post! http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/home/seven-design-blogs-to-feed-your-feed/2014/09/29/18b81b1c-45bd-11e4-b437-1a7368204804_story.html

    • It’s great that your blog + Max’s photo were in the same article :)
      Happy to hear you’re feeling better.

    • Thanks, guys! I’m flattered to be included! And as a D.C. metropolitan area native, I have to agree with Barb! :)

  99. Could you do in floor heating for this house? It would free up all the walls for use, because you wouldn’t have air registers, rads or baseboard heaters.

    The house is so small, maybe it’s actually affordable to do heated floors.

    Thoughts?

    • Thanks, Janine! I’ve looked into heated floors for my own house (just the bathrooms!) and while YES I think it would be affordable (or at least no more than a whole new HVAC system…) my understanding is that heated floors aren’t really intended to be a main heat source for a house. A little added comfort, maybe, but I don’t think it would be enough, especially in this climate! It would also involve tearing out/covering ALL of the existing flooring, which I really want to avoid…the floors are one of the few things that are original, so I want to salvage as much of them as I can! I guess I’m hoping I can work together with my HVAC dude to get the registers into non-awkward spaces that make sense.

  100. I LOVE that you exist and that this is happening and that I get to watch on the web! Thank you!!!

  101. That hardware doctor is in! I actually emailed you maybe a year ago when you were wondering what a casement stay even was on your windows above the kitchen sink in your Kingston home.
    I’m looking at the photo of your windows (and doors, can’t help it) and there are a couple of things going on. Here are my comments:
    1. as you noted, the knobs on your casement stays are missing. If you want to create more work for yourself (and why not, right?) you could remove these pieces and look on the back to see if there are any stamps or clues to the maker. There is always a chance there are parts available, but that chance might be very low at this point. But you never know…
    2. $35 for a solid brass casement stay is a really good price (at least in my world). I have no idea where those pieces are manufactured and by whom, so I can’t personally speak to the quality of function or finish, but I do speak with authority when I say that $35 per stay is a great value. Are there any knobs left on any casement stays in the house? It would be interesting to see what the originals looked like.
    3. I can’t help by notice that you have a bin pull mounted on the window stile. That’s not right. I highly recommend choosing a new casement latch that suits your aesthetic and functions as it should: it needs to latch your windows together. That pull has got to go — re-purpose or whatever you want, but don’t put it back on the window.
    4. What condition are the hinges in on the exterior of these windows? They might need replacing — often times, it is more expensive to refurbish labor-intensive hardware pieces than buy new, which is depressing, but true. I’ve had many clients come in with beautiful old hardware, who end up abandoning the idea when costs come back. Things like hinges and casement latches have multiple pieces that need to be taken apart very carefully, cataloged so the same pieces stay together (you can’t swap hinge leaves around for instance), stripped, re-polished, then put back together, and sometimes machined and threaded pieces get stripped out in the process, or they’re already wonky, which creates more and more work, like pulling a sweater. Then there is also the issue of base material – you can strip things thinking they’re brass, but surprise, they’re steel, or some weird alloy someone randomly used…I digress…If you get new hinges, what do you want the finish to be? Do you want finials? Are you concerned with security? If so, you’ll need hinges with a non removable pin.
    5. Looks like you have some really nice original door hardware (like that rim lock!), and some mid-century Schlage (or similar) tubular latchsets. Are you going to get rid of that stuff? What will you replace it with?

    If you need hardware help, let me know…Love your blog!

    • Boo Boo—thank you!! I really hope I responded to your email (if I didn’t, I AM OFFICIALLY THE WORST) because it was so helpful and kind. You know everything! Ok…moving down the list…

      1. I will remove all the hardware to clean/strip and restore the windows and all that, but the ones I’ve seen don’t seem to have any maker marks!

      2. There are a couple of knobs left, yes! Not sure if they’re original. I’m not going to get anal enough to need an EXACT match. If it functions and works with the existing hardware, I’m happy! And yes, $35/stay isn’t so bad, but multiply that by about 20 + tax + shipping and all of a sudden I’m spending about $1,000 on window hardware! Ouchies.

      3. OH, I know! It’s crazy—none of these windows have casement latches!! I’ll definitely put them on. Luckily those are pretty readily available and not super expensive.

      4. I’m planning to reuse the hinges if I can. So far they seem OK, but I haven’t inspected all of them very closely. Hoping all they need is to be stripped and hit with some spray paint.

      5. Eagle eyes! Original hardware stays and gets stripped and either clear-coated or spray painted, and new crappy stuff can hopefully get replaced pretty easily with old and appropriate. The salvage places here are overflowing with old door hardware, so it should be pretty doable!

      • Oh, you. Sorry to say you didn’t email me back, but you were busy (like, demo-ing everything) and I understand.

        I will try emailing you again because all your talk of clear-coating and spray-painting historic hardware is giving me hives. I will send you some stuff about hardware…care, history, etc. You’re doing great, but there is more to learn, much more :-)

        xxBoo Boo

  102. I think this little house is amazing! It reminds me of my house when we bought it. Our stairs had cork on them and nasty tar. I thought that there was no way we could save the fir. Turns out that we could save the fir and they look amaze balls now!

    Have fun with this project! It’s so fun to dream of the what the future house will be!

  103. Ewww, dead furry things are gross…only rivaled by the nasty bathroom (seat down next time please). I’m with your mom on this one. Ewww.

    Agree with Boo Boo on the bin handle on the window. Best to figure out your casement stay so you know what color you need for the casement latches (these are fairly easy to find from bright brass to bronze).

    Have you considered converting the existing doors to pocket doors so you free up space in those small bedrooms? I would guess the small bedroom would be marketed as a child’s room so you wouldn’t have to have 8′ of space–just build a cottage looking half closet (maybe on either side of the door) with a rod behind a nice breadboard door and then put shelves above it–or leave as a decorative space. Then a daybed opposite the pocket door. Potential buyers could quickly see that instead of a child’s room it would make a great home office.

    The other bedroom seems to have a 4×4 post right next to the closet so not sure what sort of framing supporting thing is going on there.

    Really like that you can reuse/salvage a bit of tin ceiling!

    This will be a quirky cottagey house that will look quite charming when you are done. The journey will be exciting for you and I’ll just hitchhike along enjoying it all.

  104. Oops. i meant bead board.

  105. Loving the increase in blog posts, good luck with your new project.
    Particular thanks for an old post on tiling your kitchen; following your instructions I have just completed re tiling my kitchen splash back.

  106. I think it may just be that we are now in October, but the green paint dripping down the outside of the windows creeps me out. It makes me think that Vulcan zombies battered themselves against the windows and then wreaked havoc throughout the house . . .

  107. First time commenting here! The photos of the new house are so delightfully gross, they make me want to throw on my oldest clothes and help you tear down damaged walls!

    Sounds like you’ve got some good options for the knobs on the casement windows, but I live in Portland (Oregon) and always go to Hippo Hardware:

    http://www.hippohardware.com/

    You might consider giving them a call. They have millions of bits & bobs and you might then be able to find something original rather than a newly made replacement. Just a thought :)

  108. How do you cope with restoring two houses, writing a blog, answering back, living a life, meeting friends, loving 2 dogs and a guy??? You are my hero, I wish I had half of your energy! Good job, Daniel, you’re doing great! And everything is going to work out!

    • My thoughts too, Tati. How does Daniel do it all, especially while recovering from mononucleosis? It is a cause for concern and worry for us grandmotherly types. Please, please take care Daniel, eat right & get enough rest.

      I love, love, love what is happening to that adorable cottage by the way.: }

      Take care!

  109. Have you considered painting the floors white? It looked so good in your little closet/study. Plus totally white spaces make anything mildly attractive you place in them look super gorgeous. Also you wouldn’t have to worry about patching and stains, so it might be easier/cheaper all round.

  110. I do love my Pins but nobody blogs like you… so staying put, even if you post pictures of the dead ferret.

  111. Well, um, at least it has good bones. In all seriousness, the amount of light on the 2nd floor is actually quite impressive. I kind of love all the quirky doors and room shapes up there.

  112. Have you tried Stan the man at zabrowski’ s onion kingston for the parts you need on Windows?

    • I haven’t tried Zaborski’s yet! I guess I feel like, given the quantity that I need, this is probably an instance where buying new is cheaper than trying to find salvage. I need about 20 of them!

  113. Onion? God I hate auto correct. Salvage in kingston. Sorry.

  114. http://www.historichouseparts.com/pdshop/shop/category.aspx?catid=138

    Give these folks a try for those bits and pieces you need for those windows. I like that you try to keep as much as you can about the older feel of a place, so as not to ruin the charm. I can see what you’re going for and I have to agree with you. Did something with the ceilings in a place quite like you’re describing, we used white pine panels and we stained them with something that looked like pickling… created a very beach bungalow look. We painted the beams a bright white for some contrast in the wood, and dropped pendant lights in the kitchen (the entire roof area was massive) and it really made it seem more cheerful and open for sure.

  115. Hi Daniel!

    Have you thought about using the space under the staircase as a storage space? We have one and it’s surprisingly useful. I can’t tell from the photos where the tallest part or the staircase is oriented in relation to the rest of the house, but it could be a good place for laundry or a pantry if it comes off the kitchen. Otherwise, there a million options for concealing storage under there by making doors or pull out drawers with the existing panelling.

    Also we vaulted the ceilings over the stairwell in our 1840s house and added skylights at the top and I can’t even tell you what an amazing change it was. Best money we have ever spent.

    Loving your blog so much, you are so inspiring and I would never stop reading, especially for a pin. ;)

  116. Take one of those stays to an old fashioned hardware store and see if the old timers there can hook you up with a solution!

  117. So admire your optimism and gusto for this project! Imagining doing this myself terrifies me – gross dead thing(!), mold(!), bathroom grime (!), etc……BUT the part of me that loves making something beautiful from something not so beautiful absolutely can’t wait to see what you do with this! You’re a warrior!

  118. How you have time to flip a house, take photos of it, blog about such photos, and read and reply to like 300 comments just blows my tiny brain. Plus you have mono! You must be one of the incredibles! I’ll have whatever you’re having….

  119. So super exited about watching this unfold! but ‘m completely lost on the layout of the place. One day when you get time (cos you’ve totally got hours and hours to spare! ha!) can you pretty please do a floor plan? .. or did you do it and I missed it??

    • Yes, definitely! I’m still playing around with how to squeeze everything in, and to be TOTALLY honest, I’d like to have a pretty solid idea of what I’m doing before posting the floor plan…it’s not that I don’t like suggestions (I do!) but I don’t want to get TOTALLY overwhelmed by them if I don’t already have a plan in place! I hope that makes sense!

  120. Hi! My house was built in maybe 1900 – we don’t really know, but it was built with square nails that are cute – they pop out all the time but cute! I had a chimney that was all boxed in like yours – it was covered with layers of wallpaper, then a cement like substance, more wallpaper, then a drywall frame. I tore it all down to the bricks – on the bottom floor in the fancier sitting room I covered it with drywall mud, to show the brick texture but to fix some big holes. It’s a pretty white. Upstairs in my daughter’s room we left it the original soft brick. both look really pretty. Good luck – old houses are SO MUCH WORK. But worth it.

    • That sounds so nice, Courtney! I LOVE painted brick (a lot more than unpainted, generally!)—it sounds so nice! I’m not sure what will end up working best in this space…it might be something that has to wait more until the end!

  121. When re-doing the upstairs bathroom, it would be awesome to have a laundry chute that goes from the bathroom to the laundry closet downstairs (and would also help with the storage issue of where to put dirty clothes). I also really like the idea of a downstairs powder room- under the stairs would be sweet!

    Can’t wait to see what else you come up with!

  122. Hello there!
    Sooo very nice reading about your dreams concerning this charming house.
    It seem to have great potential. I mean that I understand, and can see for my eyes, what you are about to do.
    I will continue in swedish..my english is not good. At all..
    Underbart projekt och fantastiska kvaliteter. När jag till exempel såg de små fönstren på övervåningen, så tänker jag på hur vi här hemma är noga med att behålla träet runt glaset, därför att det var speciellt utvalt till det. Tätvuxet, starkt.
    Och den lilla lustiga hallen vid entren som är så typiskt svensk. Kanske var det en svensk som byggde huset..
    Här i Sverige har vi en stark tradition att återställa gamla hus i orginalskick.
    Jag kommer att följa er med förtjusning och önskar er lycka till! Good luck!

  123. OMG you are the bravest person I know! Or possibly just overdosed on Rehab Addict. I mean, I thought the “fixer upper” we just bought was a mess, but this is truly frightening. I drove by today and I can see you are in high gear and I want you to know that what you are doing for this neighborhood is just wonderful! I don’t live here but more than rescuing deserving homes, bringing the life back into neighborhoods is a noble calling for sure! I’m going to be watching this one closely because it’s got so much potential in combination with so much “yikes!”

    • Thank you, Suzen! I’m glad you think it’s looking a little better! Gimme a couple more weeks! :)

  124. This house is going to be MAGNIFICENT. I can feel it. So excited to read about it!

  125. Bluestone Cottage is certainly a project, small, charming and full of challenges. I’m excited to see where you take this house. Thought of you when I read this about dealing with paint removal on floors and doors. They have tested some paint stripping methods that I have never heard of, clearly showing and comparing the results of each. Lead abatement is discussed as well. You should take a look. http://acountryfarmhouse.blogspot.com/2014/10/floors-and-doors.html

  126. IM SOOOOOOOOO EXCITEDDDDDD! SO so so excited!!! This will be great.

  127. Can we sign up for the Bluestone Cottage Habitat for Humanity? I would love to come up to Kingston and spend a day getting dirty and helping out. I can also run errands. CV: once stained and poly-urethaned my living room floor on 60th St in NYC on my hands and knees. Didn’t know any better. It was 18 by 30 ft. Also removed 23 colors of paint from my original wooden kitchen corner cabinet in the same co-op. I can’t wait for the next post.

  128. I’m so so excited to see what you do with this place, Daniel. Right now though those pictures are freaking me out. It looks like the set of a horror film! I’d spend my whole time cowering in the corner imagining ghosts. Good luck! You’re a braver person than me. ;)

  129. Oh Daniel!! Your pile of drywall on instagram is TORTURING ME with the promise of future posts!! Can’t wait to see what you do next.

  130. Daniel.

    Keep the closet in the Hello Kitty pink room. Behind the five panel door build cabinets that run over to the right edge of window. Close the gap between the existing closet and the new cabinets with a cozy window seat. Under the window seat can be additional storage.

    That way you keep a closet, gain more storage, and add something charming and appropriate to the house. What a cozy place to sit, read and daydream it would be. Imagining that whole room in clean white paint on the ceiling, walls and floor. White shutters, top and bottom (and nothing else) on the windows. Rag rugs, painted wooden bed. Love that little house

  131. No pressure but Young House Love just quit. I need you!!!!! You’re the one I will live through vicariously!

  132. Could you possibly find the knobs on ebay?

  133. So looking forward to seeing this house come back to life!
    As for the knobs, maybe you could take one to a 3D printing shop and get them to print you up some copies? It should work out at a lot less than $35 a piece. I’ve been planning to do this to replace a 1930s art deco door handle that is missing. I can’t find another one for love nor money at any flea market in town, getting it cast in brass is prohibitively expensive, so I’m thinking I might just get an exact copy printed up, but in hot pink high density plastic, i.e. stop pretending that it’s something original and just embrace the 21st century nature of it. Just a thought…

  134. Golly, I stay away from your blog for a couple of measly weeks and come back to a darling little house with thousands of words of fun description. It took me two leisurely cups of coffee to read through everything! Joy!

    I’d love to see floor plans if you ever have a moment to do any. And exterior photos. I want to see where that secret hidden bathroom window is in relation to the rest of the house. I totally agree with you about windows. I bought my present crappy fixer-upper strictly for the windows, and haven’t regretted it, although the rest of the house is pain in progress.

    The size of this house is closer in size to my house, so I’m hoping I’ll get some good ideas, or anyway inspiration to get back to work on it!

  135. Hi! I am so happy to hear you are vaulting the ceilings. My partner and I owe a house that was built in approx. 1867 and as far as I can tell it seems similar in size and lay out to your new secret house (its 860 sq. feet). Someone along the line vaulted our ceilings and it makes the upstairs of our tiny house feel so luxurious and big! Also- rip that closet out for. sure. I would say it is NOT a selling feature at all… we have the exact same thing in our second room and its such bullshit…. It makes a room that size seem so much smaller and makes no sense with the age/style of the house. We are planning to rip ours out ASAP.
    Good luck with everything! It seems silly to say this ’cause I don’t know ya but I am proud of you for taking on this sweet little house/huge project!
    Cheers!

  136. You will be suprised and blown off your feet when you open the ceilings on the second floor. We did this in our house – finding only one contractor who was willing to do that (due to the coal filllings in the ceiling). And what seemed like a little dog hut turned into a real house. And we had the same idea for changing the bathroom location, and our architect and the city still can’t wrap their brain around it. *umpf*
    My fingers are crossed for you on this project; be safe and don’t neglect your health over the health of your house.

  137. Hi, what a lovely thing you are doing! Saving this super cute house for the next century! I am sure you will make this look good as well. I have done a lot of building restoration in Sweden, and since this is a special project I was wondering if you would not be able to get some deals introducing eco-friendly and historically correct materials? Here we use a lot of original paint, that helps the wood breath, never chips and have natural pigments. Nothing harmful to nature at all. It is linseed oil paint, basically just oil and pigments. I do not know of any producers in the us but there must be some? It is by far the most superior paint to restore old wooden windows, wood panels and such. There is also linseed and hemp insulation, that does not scratch and that is very good in old, leaky houses. For floor treatments there are oil-wax alternatives that heal the wood, and will not cover the wood in a shiny coat like poly does, but preserve the original warm feeling of the wood. welin and osmo are manufacturers here and I do think they export. I cannot help you with any contacts, but they are great materials and it is so nice for old us houses to get a proper oil-spa! Take care and good luck!

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